Saturday, October 25, 2008


Going, have until Sunday evening (10/26) to get your name in the pot for my next drawing. Leave a comment below if you want to be included.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


You can learn a surprising amount, just from reading Little House on the Prairie Books. In the first one, I picked up some advice for those of us who are trying to grow veggies in deer country: "The garden behind the little house had been growing all summer. It was so near the house that the deer did not jump the fence and eat the vegetables in the daytime, and at night Jack kept them away. Sometimes in the morning there were little hoof-prints among the carrots and the cabbages. But Jack's tracks were there, too, and the deer had jumped right out again."

I've learned a thing or two about deer already, just on my own. For instance, I discovered that they have an evil sense of humor. When I pulled the summer annuals out of my containers, I replaced them with dianthus. I was told deer don't like to eat dianthus, and that was absolutely correct. But that doesn't stop them from plucking each one out of my pots, every damn night, and tossing it disdainfully on the ground to die. Now that is just plain rude! Every single morning I have to scurry out and get them replanted, before it gets too hot. And it's startin' to PISS ME OFF!

P.S. Many thanks to for the grinning deer image.
P.P.S. Don't forget to tell me in a comment, if you want to be included in this week's prize drawing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Tick-tock, tick-tock, time is running out. Don't miss out on this month's big book give-away. Just leave a comment here before midnight Saturday, if you want your name included in the drawing. (Sorry, I'm keeping the lamp)

P.S. Many thanks to tackyliving, for this beautiful image!


I have added something new, to spice up my workout routine - Boot Scootin'! I've been seeing notices in the paper ever since I got here, for a line dancing class, and thought it sounded like a fun way to exercise. I adore C&W dancing, but the opportunity doesn't come around all that often, especially when hubby spends most of his time in Houston. The great thing about Line Dancing is, you don't need a partner. Remember the Hustle back in the 70's? Well, this is like doing the Hustle with a twang.

I hesitated to join in before, because it was being held at the senior center, and I wasn't sure they would welcome a young whipper-snapper in her mid-50's. Turns out they only hold it there because it's a good space, and everyone is welcome. Besides, the blue-hairs that do participate are the most fun in the class. That reminds me, if you haven't seen the documentary "Young At Heart", go straight out and rent it NOW! It's the one about the choir of people in their 70's and 80's, who travel the world singing hard rock tunes. It rocks! (literally)

Know what the best thing about this class is? I get to pull my boots out of the back corner of my closet, and put them back into use!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The ARW Mystery is solved! And the answer is...

Austin Restaurant Week
3-Course Gourmet Prix Fixes
October 12-15 & 19-22

During Restaurant Week, you can enjoy delicious prix-fixe menus at some of Austin's hottest restaurants for only $35.

Be sure to book early — reservations are going to go fast!

How did I finally figure it out? Well, it pays to periodically empty out one's In Box.



I looked at your blog, and I too agree that living in the country rather than in a horribly depressed city is much better. That's why all of a sudden country retirement does not look so bad to me, but I do not think Tim is ready to be convinced of that!! I am just glad at the moment we have the option, if we should need it! That is what my dad told me long ago, you might need this land one day to live on. Hey, if it comes to that, we could have a small commune - you and John could come join us, and that would make Tim happier! They could have a still! It would be much easier if several families lived on a property together and divided up the labor. That is why farmers had lots of kids! Paula

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Dear Paula,

Yeah, John is not exactly into simple-green-frugal either. He never would have agreed to living out in the middle of nowhere. He likes Wimberley cause it's so close to Austin! Also, you know all about how he lives to shop - since your husband is just like him! Funny you should mention your idea of a commune. The book I'm about to award in my 2nd blog give-away next week, is the one that introduced me to the whole co-housing concept about 25 years ago, and it's been stewing around in my head ever since. It's not really a commune though, it's just an economical sharing of resources. Each family has their own house, townhouse, condo, whatever, but they don't need to be very big, because there are a lot of things that you share.

They usually all face in to one large shared garden and playground for instance - which not only makes the most of your resources, but also allows you to share in gardening duties and child supervision, and promotes community amongst all the residents. On top of that there is a community house that has a dining room and kitchen, laundry room, a work shop and/ or craft room, and even a couple of guest bedrooms where you can put your overflow company, so you don't need a five-bedroom house. They usually cook several communal dinners each week, sharing in the cooking and shopping duties, and you can join in if you choose, or eat at home - it's up to you. John and I figured it would be a lot like living on the company compound in Indonesia, which we quite enjoyed. You had privacy when you needed it, but if you were feeling bored or lonely, you just wandered down to the pool or club house, because there was always someone there to visit with.

Anyway, we tried to find one to join when we first talked about moving to the Hill Country, but they were slow getting off the ground here in Texas and we eventually gave up. But now, with the financial crisis and the reality of an underfunded retirement closing in on all the boomers, they are popping up all over the place! If anything ever happened to John, it would be a real struggle for me to maintain this property on my own, and I would seriously have to consider looking into one of the communities that have started up around Austin - preferably one where I could walk anywhere I needed to go, just like I did in Indonesia! Or start one of our own, like you said. Allison, who started the Women Bloom website, hopes to get some like-minded female friends with common interests together, to start one out in Santa Fe when she's ready to settle in. Think how much money you could save if you shared a car, lawn mower, washer & dryer, trips to town for errands, etc. What funds you did have for retirement sure would stretch further. And I just love the idea of having company while I garden or cook or work on craft projects. I think it would be much easier to age-in-place somewhere like that, especially if you had multiple generations living together, learning from and helping each other. Just plain common sense, right? (or maybe I lived somewhere like this in that past life you were talking about, and saw how well it worked! ;) ) I don't know about letting John and Tim make their own hooch, though. Knowing them, that would be a disaster just waiting to happen. I did tell you didn't I, that the houses on the Aramco compound all had a "blow-out" wall in the "still-room", so that the whole house wouldn't be destroyed each time the still blew up?!

Hey! You know what I just realized? Your grandma established a co-housing community right there in Normangee, when each of her kids built houses around hers, and they all shared equipment and harvesting duties!


P.S. To all my wonderful readers: Don't forget to leave a comment this week, if you want your name to be entered in this month's Year of Reading Dangerously Book Give-Away!

"Few things bond people more than common labor and few things are more enjoyable than the multitude of small celebrations working the land together can bring. From planting, to the almost never-ending harvests, to maple sugaring, fire-wood gathering, each has its own little celebration, even if it's no more than a meal together or a few bottles of beer. And these will not be like festive events you have known, where you pay money to be with strangers and sit numbly while someone entertains you. These will be about your talent, your work, your own life, with friends who are just as much a part of it as you." Ferenc Mate